Improving Mobility in Seniors

For so many seniors today, one of the biggest challenges they face on a day-to-day basis is dealing with declining mobility. As seniors start to become less active, it becomes more difficult for them to get around when they do want to be mobile. While the problem is a common one, it isn’t impossible to combat. In fact, there are several easy, yet effective tips to help improve mobility in seniors and enjoy a better quality of life where getting around is easier than ever.

Here are a few tips to get started:

Walk, Even With Assistance

Walking is such a great activity for seniors, whether they are just walking around their home, or power-walking for several miles. While seniors should ideally be able to walk unassisted, that may not always be possible, especially if they have balance issues. If seniors need a walking aid, they should use it, as long as they are getting up and moving.

If possible, seniors should use an aid that offers the most mobility possible. So, if seniors have the option between a cane and a walker, but can safely use just the cane, they should do it.

When it comes to starting a walking routine, begin with short distances and slowly add a minute to your time every week. So, week 1, you walk for 10 minutes, and week 2 you walk for 11, until seniors are able to get up to 30 minutes per day. This slow progression can help seniors increase their strength, cardiovascular health and most importantly their mobility.

Balance, Balance, Balance

One of the biggest factors that tends to prevent seniors from being as mobile as they want to be has to do with balance issues. If seniors aren’t able to maintain proper balance, then they simply aren’t going to be as mobile as they want. Balance exercises should always be incorporated into any senior’s daily routine. Here are just a few exercises that specifically help build balance:

  • Core and abdominal exercisers
  • Balancing on one foot (use a wall or bed for support and attempt 10 seconds at a time)
  • Walking with one foot directly in front of the other
  • Glute and hip exercises
  • Gentle yoga moves
  • Daily full-body stretching to loosen up and activate muscles

    Make Exercise a Social Event

Seniors who want to improve their mobility and change their lives need to start somewhere, but the most important part of improving mobility has to be consistency.  An active lifestyle is crucial to long term health.  In order to see results, seniors should be doing something every day. In order to keep seniors accountable, joining a senior group, taking classes or having a workout buddy can really help with accountability.

Get in the Water

Any pool exercises, from walking in water to swimming and particularly water aerobics are fantastic ways for seniors to improve mobility. This is because these exercises allow seniors to move freely without any extra weight or pressure on their joints as they exercise in the weightless environment of the water.

Seniors may be surprised how quickly and easily they are able to improve their range of motion, strengthen their muscles and become more mobile when they start practicing in the water first.

Any senior who is sick of feeling restricted with their mobility should give these tips a try and see first-hand what a difference they can make in their overall quality of life.

Carlos Lopez is the director for Disabled Friends. He also handles the department of disability resources for MedicareFAQ, a learning resource center for all seniors and Medicare beneficiaries.

Home Care Services for Senior

Many elderly people want to stay in their own homes as they age. However, an unexpected illness or injury or gradually increasing frailty can make that more difficult. Luckily, there are many home care options available.

Assess the Situation

The first step in deciding whether home care services can meet an elder’s needs is to evaluate the situation. For example, is the home located in an urban setting where services are readily available or in a more remote rural setting? Can the living quarters be easily accessed or can the home be modified with ramps and similar changes? Is there any support from family and/or friends? What is the client’s financial situation? All of these factors will have an impact on what services are available.What is Home Care?

Home care services typically fall into certain categories. These may encompass basic home support, transportation, nursing care, specialty medical care and respite care for caregivers.
Household Care
A home takes considerable maintenance. For example, gardening and yard work, painting, general maintenance and repairs are required on a regular basis. The interior of the house also requires cleaning. Then there are activities such as laundry and dishes, and the usual “business” activities such as paying bills and scheduling appointments. All of these services are available in many locations.
Transportation services may be very important in allowing elderly people to remain in the home. In the city, buses and taxis are usually available, as are services like Uber. Seniors may have the option of reduced fares in some cases. Medical vans are available in many locations for seniors who have disabilities.
Personal Care
A home health aide can provide assistance with many of the activities involved in daily living. Sometimes called custodial care, this can include assistance with bathing and other hygiene activities, assistance with meals – including meal preparation – shopping or transportation. In some areas, home health aides may also be able to help supervise medications or take a patient’s blood pressure.
Health Care
Health care services typically fall into one of two categories – nursing care and specialty care. The first includes the full range of nursing services, such as medication administration, dressing changes and other skilled services. Specialty care is provided by health care professionals such as physical therapists, occupational therapists or respiratory therapists.

Care Providers

Although many family members are ready and willing to help a senior who lives alone, others may have time limitations or live too far away. Sometimes neighbors can help as well. A church group or similar community organization may be able to provide some services. Care providers may be independent contractors or work for organizations like a hospital or home health agency. In the first case, the senior or his/her family members pay the contractor directly and must take care of all employment issues such as interviews, background checks, hiring, taxes, Social Security and payroll. In the second, those services are provided by the agency. One of the advantages of an agency is that they will handle all legal issues and payroll, perform extensive background checks and have multiple caregivers on the payroll to cover all times of the day and night. Full-service agencies usually bond their employees. Full-service agencies are more expensive, however. A registry falls somewhere between the two options – it is less expensive but does not offer the full range of personnel management services.

How to Hire In-Home Caregivers

The initial hiring process is key to getting the kind of services and person you want and need. Hiring someone to come and do yard work once or twice a week is very different from hiring someone to perform hands-on personal care. Begin by looking for community resources – contact the local hospital and organizations dedicated to the needs of the older adult. Check the phone book and ask for reverences from friends, family or neighbors. Always interview more than one candidate if at all possible. Develop a specific list of tasks and expectations and if you’re hiring an independent provider, have a contract to spell out all the details. Confirm fees if working with an agency. Check references and do background checks on your top candidates. The internet, local police, legal aid and local attorneys may be able to help in this process. If things don’t seem to be working out, don’t hesitate to hire a new provider.

Good research and careful preparation can allow you or a loved one to find the necessary support. You can also access community resources other than those mentioned here. Home care can make a big difference in an older person’s ability to continue living at home in relative independence.


Carlos Lopez is the director for Disabled Friends. He also handles the department of disability resources for MedicareFAQ, a learning resource center for all seniors and Medicare beneficiaries.